Category Archives: Posttraumatic Growth Articles

Posttraumatic growth refers to the process whereby some individuals are able to not only able to overcome their traumatic experiences, but transcend them in such a way that their functioning as a human being is greatly elevated. The concise articles in this category examine this most exciting phenomenon, central to which is the ‘Adversity Hypothesis.’

Let Go Of The Past

let_go_of_the_past

The following six strategies can help us to let go of the past and move on with our lives more effectively :

1) VALIDATION :

According to Horowitz, if our past childhood trauma and the pain it has caused is, subsequently, invalidated (e.g. denied, ignored, dismissed, minimized, mocked etc.) by those who have harmed us, the psychological harm done to us is amplified. This makes it harder to move forward in our lives.

However, if this is the case, it can be

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‘Shattered Vase’ Theory : Posttraumatic Growth

shattered vase

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first incorporated into the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – DSM III – (sometimes informally referred to as the psyciatrists’ bible) in 1980.

Although, without appropriate and effective therapy, PTSD can devastate lives (including, of course, variants of PTSD resulting from severe childhood trauma), as the disorder has become increasingly studied by clinicians it has also become more and more apparent that some individuals affected by the disorder not only overcome their suffering, but, also, report positive changes to their lives that have derived from working through the effects of their traumatic

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Posttraumatic Growth : An Existential Perspective

posttraumatic existential growth

We have seen from other articles that I have published in the ‘Postraumatic Growth’ section (see MAIN MENU at the top of this page) of this site that it is not only possible to recover from the adverse effects of trauma but even to go on to develop as an individual in response them in ways that would not have been possible had the traumatic events not occurred.

The concept of posttraumatic growth is closely related to existential philosophy / psychology.

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Posttraumatic Growth : The Importance Of Relationships And Social Support

posttraumatic growth relationships social support

Our relationships with others significantly influence how we cope with and respond to trauma ; the researchers Calhoun and Tedeschi (2006) suggested that specific reasons as to why this should be so included the following :

  • other people may positively alter how we view the world and how we interpret and perceive events
  • other people may introduce us to additional coping methods
  • other people may provide us with social support

Other researchers (e.g. Cordova et al., 2001  Leopore and Revenson, 2006) suggest that relationships with others in which we feel safe to make emotional disclosures may be of particular value.

Leopore and Revenson also

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Social Support And Posttraumatic Growth

social support

We are more likely to cope with trauma, overcome it and go on to experience posttraumatic growth if we have a good social support system around us. Indeed, those with access to good social support systems tend to have both a better sense of general emotional wellness (Henderson and Brown,1988) and lower levels of depression (Lara et al.,1997) when compared to those individuals who lack social support.

What Are The Benefits Of Having A Good Social Support System?

Human

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Posttraumatic Growth : Achieving Maslow’s ‘Self-Actualization’

posttraumatic growth and Maslow's self-actualization

Achieving Self-Actualization :

The concept of posttraumatic growth hinges on the idea that, although suffering trauma can be devastating, some individuals not only merely survive their traumatic experiences, but go on to achieve a higher level of personal development than they would have been able to obtain had these traumatic experiences not occurred in their lives.

Maslow's Hierarchy of needs

Above : Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs

According to the psychologist

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The Adversity Hypothesis : Posttraumatic Growth

the adversity hypothesis

‘He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.’

AESCHYLUS, AGAMEMNON 

The vast majority of studies examining the effects of trauma on the individual have concentrated on the negative effects such as depression, anxiety, phobias, flashbacks, nightmares, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and so on. However, more recently,

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Overcoming An Inferiority Complex Caused By Childhood Trauma

There are many ways that during our childhood our risk of developing an inferiority complex as adults can be increased. For example, certain types of parenting can increase this risk, such as over- controlling, over- critical, over-protective, over- demanding and/or emotionally neglectful parenting. Being brought up by such parents, or in a way which is psychologically destructive, can

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Posttraumatic Growth – Techniques to Help Keep Remaining Symptoms of Trauma Under Control

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I have stated before that just because we have entered the phase of posttraumatic growth, this does not mean symptoms of trauma have been completely eradicated. Therefore, in order to be able to maximize the potential of our posttraumatic growth, it is very useful to know about techniques to manage re-emerging symptoms resulting from our experience of trauma, so that they interfere with our recovery as little as possible.

THE TECHNIQUES :

So, if, during our recovery/posttraumatic growth,

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Posttraumatic Growth – Reconstructing The Life Story We Tell Ourselves

cropped-childhood-trauma-fact-sheet15-200x59

We make sense of our lives by telling ourselves a story about it – however, this does not mean the story we tell ourselves reflects reality, not least because how we act and behave are often motivated by unconscious processes of which, by definition, we are unaware.

imagesEDSK3CHC

Those who have suffered abusive childhoods very often grow up to believe that they are a ‘bad’ person (click

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The Main Elements Of Posttraumatic Growth

childhood-trauma-fact-sheet

Many people, after suffering a terrible trauma, find that, once they have got through it and started to recover from its damaging psychological effects, they eventually reach a stage whereby they are able to use their adverse experiences to develop them as a person in highly positive ways that benefits both themselves and society at large. This has been termed by psychologists posttraumatic growth (click here to read an earlier article I have written about this).

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After experiencing

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How Posttraumatic Growth Relates to Coping Strategies

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It is possible, once the worst of the distress caused by trauma is over, to enter a period of posttraumatic growth (click here to read my article on this) in which the experience of our trauma can be used to POSITIVELY TRANSFORM US.

3 responses to trauma- ptsd, resilience, growth

How successful we are in achieving posttraumatic growth is significantly tied up with the coping strategies we employ in the aftermath of our traumatic experiences.

There are two main types of coping strategy ; these are :

1) APPROACH ORIENTED

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Posttraumatic Growth – How Trauma can Positively Transform Us

posttraumatic growth

childhood trauma posttraumatic growth

‘Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger.’

– Nietzsche

Much of the research into the effects of severe trauma has concentrated upon its NEGATIVE effects; indeed, a large proportion of the articles on this site have analysed such effects. However, as new research is showing that the experience of trauma can also have a positive transforming effect upon a person’s life, I thought I would redress the balance by including some articles, of which this is the first, on this

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